There’s been a lot of buzz lately around Core Web Vitals, those essential website metrics that Google announced would be used to determine page experience and rank. Keep reading to learn what they actually are, and how you can optimize them on your own website!
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of three metrics that measure the speed and stability of a website. They define how “fast” and “smooth” a website is, two essential factors in providing a good user experience. By optimizing them, you can not only improve your website’s ranking in Google search results, but also make it more enjoyable for visitors to use.
Page Experience Metrics That Matter for Technical SEO and UX
The three Core Web Vital metrics are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP);
- First Input Delay (FID);
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Before we dive into each metric, it’s important to note that Core Web Vitals are a subset of the page experience metrics used by Google. Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Core Web Vitals are a subset of these signals that focus on speed and stability.
In addition to Core Web Vitals, Google’s page experience signals include mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, SSL certification, and a lack of intrusive interstitials. These signals have been used by Google for years to influence ranking, and will continue to do so even after Core Web Vitals are factored in. So, while you should absolutely focus on Core Web Vitals, don’t neglect the other signals!
Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?
Core Web Vitals are important because they help Google determine whether a website is providing a good user experience. Users don’t like to wait for slow websites to load, and they don’t like it when pages suddenly shift around while they’re trying to read or click something. If your website is fast and stable, visitors are more likely to stay on your site, and Google wants to reward you for that with a higher ranking.
Google has also said that they will be giving more weight to Core Web Vitals in the future. Right now, they’re only a small part of the page experience signals used to influence ranking. But, over time, they will become more important as Google collects more data and gets better at measuring user experience.
So, if you want your website to rank well in Google search results, you need to optimize your Core Web Vitals. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to improve each metric. More on that below!
Metric #1: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP, is a metric that measures how long it takes for the largest content element on a page to load. This could be an image, a video, or even just text. The goal is to have an LCP of less than 2.5 seconds. The average website has an LCP of around 2.5 to 4 seconds. Anything over 4 seconds is considered to be poor and will appear lower in search results.
How to Improve Your LCP
There are a few different ways to improve your LCP. Here are some things you could do.
- Optimize images by reducing file size and using proper formatting.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to improve server response time.
Keep in mind that the LCP is just one metric, and you shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of your content in order to achieve a fast LCP. A good user experience is about more than just speed. However, with the right balance, you can make your website both fast and enjoyable to use.
Metric #2: First Input Delay (FID)
First Input Delay (FID) is a metric that measures how long it takes for a page to become interactive – for example, how long it takes for a button to respond when clicked just after loading the page. The goal is to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds. The average website has an FID of around 100 to 300 milliseconds, and anything over 300 ms needs improvement.
How to Improve Your FID
There are a few different ways you can improve your FID. Here are some things you could do:
- Reduce the amount of code that needs to be parsed and executed on page load.
- Load resources asynchronously, so they don’t block the main thread.
- Optimize images and other media files to reduce file size.
First Input Delay is a relatively new metric, and there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. However, the consensus is that it’s important to focus on reducing the amount of time spent parsing and executing code on page load. If you can do that, you’ll likely see a reduction in your FID.
Metric #3: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a metric that measures how often elements on a page shift around while loading. This can happen when images or other elements are slow to load, or if ads suddenly appear above the content you’re trying to read. Your website’s CLS should be less than 0.1, which means that shifts are rare and unobtrusive. The average website has a CLS between 0.1 and 0.25, and anything over 0.25 is considered a lack of visual stability.
How to Improve Your CLS
There are a few different ways you can reduce your CLS. Here are some things you could do:
- Use aspect ratios for images and videos so that they don’t resize as they load.
- Reserve ad space so that ads don’t suddenly load and interrupt the content you’re trying to read.
- Avoid heavy embeds like social media widgets that cause sudden shifts on your page.
It’s difficult to completely avoid layout shifts, but if you can reduce them, your website will be much more user-friendly. This means visitors won’t be constantly interrupted by content that’s shifting around on the page, and they’ll be more likely to stick around and engage with your website.
How to Measure Web Vitals Metrics
Core Web Vitals metrics can be measured in a few different ways. The most popular method is to use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. This tool will give you an overview of your website’s performance, as well as specific recommendations on how to improve it. Another popular method is to use the Web Vitals extension for Google Chrome. This extension will show you real-time data on your website’s performance, as well as historical data.
Once you’ve measured your website’s performance, you can start making changes to improve it. Remember that you don’t need to focus on all the metrics at once – pick one or two that are most important to your website, and work on improving those first. With the right approach, you can make your website faster and more user-friendly, which will ultimately lead to more traffic and conversions.
Core Web Vitals are a set of three metrics – LCP, FID, and CLS – that measure the user experience of a website. They’re important because they are directly related to how users interact with a website. Google has announced that they will be using these metrics as part of their Page Experience algorithm update, which means that websites with good Core Web Vitals scores will be ranked higher in search results.
Google provides tools to measure your website’s Core Web Vitals, and there are a few different ways to improve them. If you focus on improving your website’s performance, you can expect to see a boost in traffic and conversions.
Have you measured your website’s Core Web Vitals? What changes have you made to improve them? Let us know in the comments below!